VIDEO: Volunteers gift new home to B.C. wildfire victim

VIDEO: Volunteers gift new home to B.C. wildfire victim

Mennonite Disaster Services spent four months building a home, and are building three more in the region

A woman who lost her home of more than 40 years to the 2017 wildfires east of Williams Lake has a new one thanks to the efforts of Mennonite Disaster Services.

In the presence of family and friends, Joan Scheffler attended a dedication ceremony on Friday, Sept. 28 at her new home off the Spokin Lake Road on Scheffler Road, led by a handful of the 80-plus MDS volunteers who helped build her new house.

“I just want to thank everybody who did the building on it, it’s a wonderful thing,” said Scheffler, who didn’t have house insurance when the wildfires ravaged the neighbourhood in July, 2017. “There were so many people who came through. They came from everywhere. I don’t know what to say — it was a amazing.”

Chuckling she said she also appreciated all the young volunteers too.

“I enjoyed meeting you all. It was just like meeting family. It was easy to talk to everyone and it was like a big family and that’s what I appreciated the most. There were no pretensions, and the MDS has been wonderful. The work you are doing is amazing and maybe some day I can help.”

Peter Thiessen, who co-ordinated the project, described Scheffler as a “composed lady.”

“She was unbelievably calm, certainly on the outside. As we met her, we started pondering this process. We sat here, Ross Penner, Evelyn and Ross Peters and I, and Ross said ‘I’ll find the money,’ Evelyn said ‘I’ll find the people,’ and I said, ‘I’ll build it,’ and here we are.”

One of the project directors, Dave Brubacher, told Scheffler it was an honour for MDS to be there to celebrate with her.

“Joan I can’t imagine the many different thoughts and emotions you have had on the property over the last 14 months,” he said.

Scheffler’s sister-in-law, Ruth Yarema, told the volunteers she appreciated their efforts.

Fighting back the tears, she said she was so happy they had built a home for her sister.

“It’s an awesome miracle,” Yarema said.

Donelda Friesen presented Scheffler with a gift of a quilt made by MDS volunteers at Foothills Mennonite Church in Calgary, Alta.

“As you use this gift may it serve as a reminder to you of all the people that have walked alongside you during your pilgrimage of the fire. The small quilt blocks represent you family, your friends, your community as well as the MDS volunteers near and far,” Friesen said.

Read more: Mennonite volunteers help wildfire victims

Shirley Gotzke and her husband Abe were part of the first group of volunteers that arrived in May to start building.

She presented Scheffler with a bible.

“When your house was started in mid-May it began with four volunteers,” Gotzke said. “The basement hole was dug on Monday and five days later we poured the walls. Joan you were here as often as possible, always curious about the process and progress we were making.”

Gotzke thanked Scheffler’s son, Kalvin, for helping them whenever he could.

“You’ve been such a big part of this,” she told him.

Volunteers of all ages from many parts of Canada and the U.S. helped with the project, Gotzke said, noting while they worked under the name of MDS, they came from different denominations.

“This is a good thing because it reminds us that together we make family.”

Sharing a memory from the first day she walked onto Scheffler’s property, Gotzke said it was a burned wheelbarrow that caught her eye.

“It was burned and it was among the remnants of the fire,” she said.

“The wheelbarrow reminds me of normal family life in the country and the burned one is a strong symbol of how your life was changed. MDS volunteers share the pain of loss with you and it is our genuine hope that as we have rebuilt a house, God will renew your hope.”

Robert Prinse, another project director, presented Scheffler with a book about MDS projects and told her it was a pleasure to work on her home.

Scheffler’s son, Tim, also attended the dedication and said he did not know what the family would have done without the help of MDS.

“We are gracious for them,” Tim said.

Kalvin said his mom moved in with him after the wildfires and he was thankful to MDS and God for the new home.

“People were wonderful,” Kalvin said. “I never worked with so many good people.”

MDS is presently building another three homes for people in the Cariboo Chilcotin; another one in the Spokin Lake Road area and two in Hanceville.

Thiessen said one of the homes in Hanceville should be completed in about two weeks.

Read more: Wildfires claim 60 homes, 167 structures in CRD



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

MDS volunteers Robert Prinse, Abe Gotzke, Shirley Gotzke and Peter Thiessen were the first crew to begin building a new home for Joan Scheffler in May.

MDS volunteers Robert Prinse, Abe Gotzke, Shirley Gotzke and Peter Thiessen were the first crew to begin building a new home for Joan Scheffler in May.

An outside view of the home built for Joan Scheffler by volunteers from the Mennonite Disaster Services after her original home of more than 40 years was destroyed by wildfire east of Williams Lake off the Spokin Lake Road. Monica Lamb-Yorski photos

An outside view of the home built for Joan Scheffler by volunteers from the Mennonite Disaster Services after her original home of more than 40 years was destroyed by wildfire east of Williams Lake off the Spokin Lake Road. Monica Lamb-Yorski photos

Joan Scheffler tries the doorbell on her new home built by Mennonite Disaster Services. She lost her home due to the Spokin Lake Road wildfire in 2017. Below: Some of the more than 80 Mennonite Disaster Services volunteers who helped build a new home for Joan Scheffler.

Joan Scheffler tries the doorbell on her new home built by Mennonite Disaster Services. She lost her home due to the Spokin Lake Road wildfire in 2017. Below: Some of the more than 80 Mennonite Disaster Services volunteers who helped build a new home for Joan Scheffler.

During the dedication of her new home Joan Scheffler (left) receives a hand-made quilt presented by Donelda Friesen (right).

During the dedication of her new home Joan Scheffler (left) receives a hand-made quilt presented by Donelda Friesen (right).

Some of the more than 80 Mennonite Disaster Services volunteers who helped build a new home for Joan Scheffler.

Some of the more than 80 Mennonite Disaster Services volunteers who helped build a new home for Joan Scheffler.

Just Posted

Jaimie Davis won received a Northwest Community College President’s Art Award in 2018. This year, she won the Best Solopreneur Award from Small Business BC for her online shop Jada Creations. (Contributed photo/Northwest Community College)
Terrace artist wins provincial small business award

Jaimie Davis of Jada Creations won BC Small Business’ Best Solopreneur Award

Chera Bergen (left) with her sisters Hali and Dylan Ouellet (not in the picture) raised money through a bottle drive in Terrace to buy essential supplies for a homeless shelter. (Binny Paul/ Terrace Standard)
Terrace sisters’ recycle drive raises money for homeless shelter

With the $1175 raised, Chera, Hali and Dylan bought essential supplies for Ksan Society

A memorial march takes place along Highway 16 also known as Canada’s ‘Highway of Tears’ on national day of awareness of Murdered & Missing Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG). Over five dozen people from nearby communities joined the march which began outside Terrace City Hall and ended at the memorial totem pole erected along Hwy 16, near Kitsumkalum. (Binny Paul/Terrace Standard)
‘City of Terrace can and should make spaces safer’: MMIWG activists

Activists called on governments to amplify safety net for women on national day of awareness of MMIWG

RCMP are reminding the public to be aware of their surroundings after a stabbing sent a man to hospital on May 4, 2021. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Terrace stabbing sends man to hospital

RCMP remind the public to be aware of surroundings

The construction site for the new Mills Memorial Hospital has been cleared. (Binny Paul/The Terrace Standard)
Bird nests key to decision to log hospital site in Terrace

Nests would have posed a risk of increasing costs

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Gord Judson steers his log truck down a forest service road, using two-way radio and call signals to mark his position for oncoming traffic. (B.C. Forest Safety Council)
Planning some B.C. wilderness fishing? Don’t catch a log truck

Remote recreation areas bracing for heavy pandemic pressure

Former University of British Columbia student Stephanie Hale, 22. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff Bassett
Human Rights Tribunal to hear complaint against UBC Okanagan for ‘mishandling’ sexual assault report

Stephanie Hale did not return to campus after the student she alleges attacked her was cleared of wrongdoing

Most Read